|By Harry Trott||
|February 2, 2016 04:00 AM EST||
Understanding the core objective is alone not enough to find greater success with content marketing. The reason very few marketers find their content marketing strategies effective is because of the lack of personalization.
Content marketing is everywhere and it is not going away anytime soon. A survey conducted by IDC found that CMOs at some of the biggest technological companies in the world regarded building content marketing competency as the second most important initiative in their organizations just behind ROI. Yet, as another study from the CMO council shows, less than 2 percent of marketers believe their content marketing strategy is highly effective.
One of the primary reasons behind this low figure is the lack of clear objectives. A survey by Content Marketing Institute asked B2B marketers what they thought an effective content marketing program looked in their organizations. The responses ranged widely from building an audience and generating leads and sales to publishing content consistently, elevating brand perception, and better traffic.
What Should Content Marketing Accomplish?
Content marketing, just like any other forms of marketing, should have one very clear objective - to generate leads that convert into customers. Any other goals, like publishing content consistently or elevating the perception of the brand, are merely drivers that channel the target audience through a funnel that end with them becoming a lead and eventually a customer.
But understanding the core objective is alone not enough to find greater success with content marketing. The reason very few marketers find their content marketing strategies effective is because of the lack of personalization. A lot of marketing strategies deployed today - from PPC advertising to SEO and email marketing - are extremely targeted in that they either reach out to the customer when they are seeking out the product the most, or the message is highly personalized to elicit higher interest rates.
Content marketing does neither of that. The strategy adopted by a large number of businesses today is to churn dozens of articles related to the industry and pray that they bring referral and search traffic in the process. With more than 2 million blog posts being written every single day, this is plainly wishful thinking. Praying for luck has never been an effective strategy in any aspect of business.
How Can You Make Content Marketing Actually Work for You?
What should instead work is personalization - when the content you produce is targeted at the person you are reaching out to, then it elicits higher response rates - either in the form of leads or sales. Of course, this is not entirely possible through the current forms of content marketing like blog posts or infographics. This is why it is important to focus on recommendations instead.
According to John Lemp, the CEO of Revcontent, a content recommendation startup, this is likely the future of native advertising. He points out that content recommendation is an effective strategy that has already been adopted by a number of media businesses like Forbes and The New York Times to supplement lower ad revenues.
This is how it works - businesses produce high-quality content that serves as a viral magnet that brings traffic from multiple referral sources including social media and other industry websites. Oftentimes, this content cannot perform the dual role of attracting traffic as well as generating leads for business. So the next step in content marketing is to channel these visitors through personalized content targeted at the specific visitor. This is done through personalized content recommendations that will serve as a lead generation machine.
At the moment, businesses executing content marketing strategies often rely on email capture as a means to achieve their lead generation target. But a lead captured off content that is not uniquely targeted to a customer often ends up as a bad lead. By focusing on capturing leads solely off content that is personalized and targeted to an individual visitor, businesses should see a vastly better leads database that should convert better.
The Future of Content Marketing in 2016
There are already a plethora of startups that use behavioral targeting strategies to target high-quality leads with personalized ads. This year is likely to see this technology graduate to other areas of marketing, including content marketing. This way, the content your visitors read and click will become increasingly personalized and targeted. Could this be the answer to challenges that marketers face with building a targeted leads list? We will have an answer this year.
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